Jane Addams on Child Labor, July 23, 1905 (excerpt)



Speaking recently in Milwaukee on child labor, Miss Addams, of [Hull] House, Chicago, is quoted by "The Journal of Education" as saying that part of the responsibility for the present terrible conditions must rest with the educators of the country, who lose all interest in their pupils the moment the latter leave school. If teachers do their full duty to the children within the four walls of the schoolroom they feel they have no further responsibility. Continuing, she said:

"Industry is constantly wearing out the children at the period of their lives when the possess abnormal strength, a strength that should naturally go into growth and development. The State furnished vastly expensive public school buildings and systems of education, and then, when the child leaves school, merely because the State laws offer no protection to the child against this premature labor, the State must afterward resume their care when they are worn out and thrown aside. And the factories are constantly saying to the schools: "Give us more; we have worn out and used up that which you gave."

It is a fact that children employed in these heartless factories, if they live at all, are broken, absolutely crippled, and unable to work and support themselves after they have reached years of manhood and womanhood, and must be supported in the public asylums and hospitals. Children are commercially most advantageous between fourteen and eighteen years for most employments.

Item Relations